The Boma path is the most accessible route onto Mulanje’s grassy uplands, and a direct way onto the Lichenya plateau. The final ascent is notoriously steep.
Stand on the edge of the plateau and peer over the 1,200m cliffs of the Lichenya face. The Linje pools are tranquil ponds.
The path begins by meandering along the upward edge of Chitakale Estate with glorious views across the tea fields. After some 500m, a sharp turn to the right starts the ascent to the plateau – a gruelling yet rewarding 3 hours with some great rock scrambling and views down to Mulanje town and on to Mozambique. A river crossing provides a good place to rest before the final climb. Care should be taken on the top section, which is particularly steep; grass tufts provide foot and scramble holds up rock slabs.
At the top, you reach the Lichenya Plateau, perhaps the most expansive area of wood and grassland on the mountain. The Linje pools are approximately 3km (1 hour) along firebreaks across the flat grassland. The path crosses an improbable airstrip, though landings are a rarity. The airstrip is on a bed of bauxite (aluminium ore); the surrounding is home to the largest deposits on the mountain, where large well-formed crystals can also be found.
The pools are just a short distance from the edge of the plateau at one of the steepest points on the Lichenya face – the cliffs drop 1,200m down to the tea fields below.
An alternative destination to the pools is the quaint Hope’s Rest Cottage – built in 1899 out of Mulanje cedar, it is the oldest hut on Mulanje.
Retrace your footsteps all the way back to Kara O Mula.
The Lichenya plateau is home to Simpson’s peak and Chilemba peak, though it would be difficult to reach either without spending a night on the plateau. Both offer nice views of the plateau, and Chilemba peers out towards Chambe peak and the Likhubula valley.
There is plenty to discover on the plateau – the crater rim, Lichenya river and pools, and rolling grasslands. Hope’s Rest Cottage and Lichenya Hut are both well situated to explore the area.
There are many alternative routes onto the Lichenya plateau – the two paths from Nessa, the milk run from Likhubula or the crater path from the Boma.